Genital Lesions Associated with Delphinid Herpesvirus-4 in a Striped Dolphin (Stenella coeruleoalba) from Clearwater, Florida, Gulf of Mexico
An adult female striped dolphin (Stenella coeruleoalba) stranded dead along the gulf coast of Florida. On necropsy the dolphin had respiratory compromise, was thin and was carrying a 17 cm fetus. The vaginal slit contained papilloma like tumors which were pink to grey in color and flattened with an irregular border. Polymerase chain reaction revealed these tumors to be the associated with the presence of Delphinid Herpesvirus-4 (DeHV-4), a gammaherpesvirus. Cases involving cetacean alphaherpesviruses have been implicated as the cause of mortalities in bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus),1 while the gammaherpes viruses in cetaceans have been associated with oral or genital lesions2. This is the first time DeHV-4 has been isolated from a striped dolphin, with all previous infections being found in bottlenose dolphins, where it has been associated with similar lesions.2,3 The isolation of DeHV-4 in a novel species demonstrates the potential for this virus to cross species barriers.
The authors would like to thank the members of the Clearwater Marine Aquarium stranding team for responding to this carcass. We would also like to thank Nina Thompson for her help with the necropsy and tissue collection, and Dr. Robson Gigio for his evaluation of the post-mortem computerized tomography scan.
* Presenting author
+ Student presenter
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